Enable breadcrumbs token at /includes/pageheader.html.twig

U.S. Navy Wants Ships That Are Ready for the Fight

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro’s key to modernizing is decommissioning old vessels.

“When a ship gets to be about 37 years of age—or 35 plus years of age, it's like an old car,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro during his WEST 2023 keynote on Thursday. 

“Every time you take it to the mechanic for an oil change, it costs you 1,500 bucks, and you bring it home and you keep paying the 1,500 bucks over and over and over again—at some point, you’ve got to get rid of it,” said Del Toro, explaining the force’s aggressive decommissioning and shipbuilding program. 

The secretary added that his force has 54 vessels under construction to replace the retirements. 

In his address he listed his top priorities, including strengthening maritime dominance and keeping the Navy as a sea-based strategic deterrent. This includes new surface vessel and Columbia class submarine production on time and on schedule, expanding the industrial base and increasing focus on cyber warfare.







Another priority focuses on personnel. Fostering a warfighting culture of excellence “where everybody treats each other with dignity, respect, professionalism, should be at the top of the list of budget priorities, [along with] our professional military education, force resiliency and mental health including suicide prevention,” Del Toro said. 

Talent acquisition and retention has been a challenge for all the services under historically low unemployment. On this the secretary boasted about a 10% increase in retention since the beginning of his tenure 18 months ago. 

Del Toro’s third priority centers on relationships. This area includes businesses, small, medium and large, as well as partnerships with allies around the world. 

Carlos Del Toro
The budget, actually, is a reflection of our core values, and it's important, it’s in the security of our nation.
Carlos Del Toro
Secretary of the Navy

For suppliers and contractors, the secretary’s concern is with the upcoming budget process. “The budget, actually, is a reflection of our core values, and it's important, it’s in the security of our nation,” Del Toro told the audience. 

The secretary stressed that he would like personal contact with as many suppliers as possible. “Since I've taken office, I've met with many of you one-on-one or in small groups; if you've heard a rumor that I want to meet with every company that contracts in the United States Navy let me address that right now: it's true,” Del Toro said to the industry members in the room. 

He also told the audience that various offices under his department were receiving training to facilitate access and streamline purchasing processes.